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This English-related language has been a lingua franca in the country since at least the s.
Michigan women swingers year period since has seen dramatic changes in the attitude of speakers towards the language. Speakers have centgal recognised the usefulness of the language but, in early writings, it was frequently referred to as "Bad English", "Broken English" and "Bush English".
Today, due mainly to its extended use in Churches and on Radio and Television, it is becoming known as Kamtok from Cameroon Talk, and is taking its place as a recognised medium of interaction. It is difficult to distinguish between a widely-used pidgin and a creole.
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The sociological differentiation, often cited, is that a creole is a mother tongue whereas a pidgin is not. However, this distinction is overly simplistic in West Africa where multilingualism is the norm and where the same language can, at any one time, be a mother tongue, a language of wider communication and a first, second, third, fourth or foreign language. This is the case with Kamtok. It is acquired by many in infancy at the same time as their other mother tongue s and spoken at a similar speed and with similar flexibility.
Many, including clergymen, traders, travellers, gendarmes, soldiers and prisoners repuglic it as the most viable means of communication in a country with two official languages, French and English, and a minimum of two hundred mutually unintelligible vernaculars. Other people, including immigrants and expatriates, learn it with varying degrees of proficiency and a few, albeit a diminishingstill refuse to speak it because they believe it incapable of civilised discourse.
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Geography Cameroon has quite a small population c. Cameroon has large stretches of fertile land, producing good quality cocoa, coffee, tea and bananas. It also has substantial deposits of oil and bauxite.
Because of its position at the "hinge of Africa" and because of its geographical and ethnic diversity, Cameroon has often been referred to as "Africa in miniature". No one is certain exactly how many languages are spoken in Cameroon but government publications suggestwhich can be subdivided into perhaps rwpublic major groups. The official languages are French and English with Arabic also having high prestige.
The percentage is much higher in urban areas and lower among older rural women.
All education is through the medium of either English or French and all young people are expected to be bilingual in the countries official languages. History and Use It is impossible to be precise about when Kamtok became established as a lingua franca in the country but a variety of it existed in Cameroon at least as far back as when the Germans annexed the country.
The German administration found it necessary to permit Kamtok on the cdntral multilingual plantations they established and a glossary of West African pidgin was published in German and later Dutch and French priests found it easier in areas such as Bamenda to use Kamtok and their use of it in liturgical contexts added to the prestige of the language.
Kamtok is spoken, in some form, by at least half of the population so it would be overly simplistic to suggest that it could be described in a few s. What I can do is offer some generalisations with examples, all drawn from live speech unless otherwise indicated.
I should just like to emphasise, however, that there are many varieties of Kamtok including: Grafi Kamtok, the variety used in the grassfields and often referred to as 'Grafi Talk' liturgical Kamtok. This variety has been used by the Catholic church for three quarters of a century francophone Kamtok.
This variety is adrican mainly in the southwest coastal area around the port that used to be called Victoria and is now Limbe. Bororo Kamtok.
This variety is spoken by the Bororo cattle traders, many of whom travel through Nigeria and Cameroon. Kamtok is more open to influence from English and French than at any time in its past and its speakers are much happier about using it than was the case even twenty years ago. It is accepted by most as a very useful language, the most useful lingua franca in the country.
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It will certainly continue to change but there is no evidence that it is dying out. Indeed, it is finding new uses.
One of the most exciting of these is in the creation of drama for ordinary people. As Asheri Kilo shows in her Ph. Menget and Peter Tangyi. I used "creators" rather than "writers" because the cast is encouraged to ad lib and the audience is expected to participate.
In this way, each performance is unique.